Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities

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Chronicle Books, Feb 29, 2012 - Architecture - 192 pages
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Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities, the latest addition to the Architecture Briefs series, is a handbook on how to write effectively and critically about the contemporary city. The book offers works by some of the best architecture critics of the twentieth century including Ada Louise Huxtable, Lewis Mumford, Herbert Muschamp, Michael Sorkin, Charles Moore, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Jane Jacobs to explains some of the most successful methods with which to approach architectural criticism. Each chapter opens with a reprint of a historically significant essay (and organized by typology such as the skyscraper, the museum, and parks) discussing a specific building or urban project. The author, Alexandra Lange, then offers a close reading of that essay, as well as her own analysis through contemporary examples, to further enlighten the reader about how to write an effective piece of architectural criticism.

This book, based on lessons learned from the author's courses at New York University and the School of Visual Arts, could serve as the primary text for a course on criticism for undergraduates or architecture and design majors. Architects covered include Marcel Breuer, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Field Operations, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Frederick Law Olmsted, SOM, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
 

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Contents

Skyscrapers
21
Museums
58
Landmarks
71
Monuments
93
Parks
121
Cities
147
Conclusion
175
Acknowlegments
181
Image Key
183
Sources
187
Index
192

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About the author (2012)

Alexandra Lange is a journalist and architectural historian.Jane Thompson is an urbanist - designer and planner-who has spent her thirty-year career creating successful and well-loved places that contribute to the vitality and identity of cities worldwide, such as Dublin, Cardiff, Amsterdam, and Tokyo. Since 1994, she has been principal of Thompson Design Group in Boston, whose projects include Navy Pier in Chicago, the Grand Central District and Times Square Center in New York, the North Coast Harbor plan in Cleveland, and the Redevelopment Master Plan for Houston's Buffalo Bayou. Jane graduated from Vassar College and pursued graduate studies at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. She then worked for the Museum of Modern Art and became acting assistant curator in the Department of Architecture. This was followed by positions as architecture editor of Interiors magazine and founding editor of Industrial Design (now I.D.). In the late 1960s Jane became co-owner of Design Research, Inc., founded by her late husband, architect Benjamin Thompson. With Thompson, she conceived and designed Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace and numerous waterfront restorations in the United States and abroad. She has been a board member of the International Design Conference in Aspen, the Institute for Urban Design, and the Waterfront Center in Washington, D.C. Jane chairs the Gropius House Advisory Committee in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She has received numerous awards for her work, including a lifetime achievement award from the Industrial Design Society of America and Institute Honors from the AIA. In 2000, Jane and Ben Thompson were each named Knight First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland.

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